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UNTHSC Scholar is an open access repository of the intellectual output and publicly available materials of the university. UNTHSC Scholar provides stable access to data, highlights community partnerships and engagement, and enables discovery of these works by the international scientific community. It preserves the history, growth and innovation of the University of North Texas Health Science Center as an institution.


Recent Submissions

Healthy Human Fecal Microbiota Transplantation into Mice Attenuates MPTP-Induced Neurotoxicity via AMPK/SOD2 Pathway
(Aging and Disease, 2023-05-18) Xie, Zhencao; Zhang, Mahui; Luo, Yuqi; Jin, Dana; Guo, Xingfang; Yang, Wanlin; Zheng, Jialing; Zhang, Hongfei; Zhang, Lu; Deng, Chao; Zheng, Wenhua; Tan, Eng-King; Jin, Kunlin; Zhu, Shuzhen; Wang, Qing
Increasing evidence has shown that gut dysbacteriosis may play a crucial role in neuroinflammation in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the specific mechanisms that link gut microbiota to PD remain unexplored. Given the critical roles of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction in the development of PD, we aimed to evaluate the interactions among the gut microbiota, BBB, and mitochondrial resistance to oxidation and inflammation in PD. We investigated the effects of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) on the physiopathology of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice. The aim was to explore the role of fecal microbiota from PD patients and healthy human controls in neuroinflammation, BBB components, and mitochondrial antioxidative capacity via the AMPK/SOD2 pathway. Compared to control mice, MPTP-treated mice exhibited elevated levels of Desulfovibrio, whereas mice given FMT from PD patients exhibited enriched levels of Akkermansia and mice given FMT from healthy humans showed no significant alterations in gut microbiota. Strikingly, FMT from PD patients to MPTP-treated mice significantly aggravated motor impairments, dopaminergic neurodegeneration, nigrostriatal glial activation and colonic inflammation, and inhibited the AMPK/SOD2 signaling pathway. However, FMT from healthy human controls greatly improved the aforementioned MPTP-caused effects. Surprisingly, the MPTP-treated mice displayed a significant loss in nigrostriatal pericytes, which was restored by FMT from healthy human controls. Our findings demonstrate that FMT from healthy human controls can correct gut dysbacteriosis and ameliorate neurodegeneration in the MPTP-induced PD mouse model by suppressing microgliosis and astrogliosis, ameliorating mitochondrial impairments via the AMPK/SOD2 pathway, and restoring the loss of nigrostriatal pericytes and BBB integrity. These findings raise the possibility that the alteration in the human gut microbiota may be a risk factor for PD and provide evidence for potential application of FMT in PD preclinical treatment.
Therapeutic Potential of Antioxidants and Hybrid TEMPOL Derivatives in Ocular Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Glimpse into the Future
(MDPI, 2023-11-25) Amankwa, Charles E.; Kodati, Bindu; Donkor, Nina; Acharya, Suchismita
Reactive oxygen species play a significant role in the pathogenesis of various ocular neurodegenerative diseases especially glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and ocular ischemic stroke. Increased oxidative stress and the accumulation of ROS have been implicated in the progression of these diseases. As a result, there has been growing interest in exploring potential therapeutic and prophylactic strategies involving exogenous antioxidants. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in the development of synthetic therapeutic antioxidants for targeting reactive oxygen species (ROS) in neurodegenerative diseases. One area of focus has been the development of hybrid TEMPOL derivatives. In the context of ocular diseases, the application of next-generation hybrid TEMPOL antioxidants may offer new avenues for neuroprotection. By targeting ROS and reducing oxidative stress in the retina and optic nerve, these compounds have the potential to preserve retinal ganglion cells and trabecular meshwork and protect against optic nerve damage, mitigating irreversible blindness associated with these diseases. This review seeks to highlight the potential impact of hybrid TEMPOL antioxidants and their derivatives on ocular neurodegenerative disorders.
A Synthetic Formula Amino Acid Diet Leads to Microbiome Dysbiosis, Reduced Colon Length, Inflammation, and Altered Locomotor Activity in C57BL/6J Mice
(MDPI, 2023-11-25) Mancilla, Viviana J.; Braden-Kuhle, Paige N.; Brice, Kelly N.; Mann, Allison E.; Williams, Megan T.; Zhang, Yan; Chumley, Michael J.; Barber, Robert C.; White, Sabrina N.; Boehm, Gary W.; Allen, Michael S.
The effects of synthetic, free-amino acid diets, similar to those prescribed as supplements for (phenylketonuria) PKU patients, on gut microbiota and overall health are not well understood. In the current, multidisciplinary study, we examined the effects of a synthetically-derived, low-fiber, amino acid diet on behavior, cognition, gut microbiome composition, and inflammatory markers. A cohort of 20 male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to either a standard or synthetic diet (n = 10) at post-natal day 21 and maintained for 13 weeks. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from fecal samples revealed decreased bacterial diversity, increased abundance of bacteria associated with disease, such as Prevotella, and a downward shift in gut microbiota associated with fermentation pathways in the synthetic diet group. Furthermore, there were decreased levels of short chain fatty acids and shortening of the colon in mice consuming the synthetic diet. Finally, we measured TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 in serum, the hippocampus, and colon, and found that the synthetic diet significantly increased IL-6 production in the hippocampus. These results demonstrate the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to future diet and microbiome studies, as diet not only impacts the gut microbiome composition but potentially systemic health as well.
Model-based predictions of protective HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis adherence levels in cisgender women
(Springer Nature, 2023-11-14) Zhang, Lanxin; Iannuzzi, Sara; Chaturvedula, Ayyappa; Irungu, Elizabeth; Haberer, Jessica E.; Hendrix, Craig W.; von Kleist, Max
Most human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections occur in cisgender women in resource-limited settings. In women, self-protection with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate pre-exposure prophylaxis (FTC/TDF-PrEP) constitutes a major pillar of HIV prevention. However, clinical trials in women had inconsistent outcomes, sparking uncertainty about adherence requirements and reluctance in evaluating on-demand regimens. We analyzed data from published FTC/TDF-PrEP trials to establish efficacy ranges in cisgender women. In a 'bottom-up' approach, we modeled hypotheses in the context of risk-group-specific, adherence-efficacy profiles and challenged those hypotheses with clinical data. We found that different clinical outcomes were related to the proportion of women taking the product, allowing coherent interpretation of the data. Our analysis showed that 90% protection was achieved when women took some product. We found that hypotheses of putative male/female differences were either not impactful or statistically inconsistent with clinical data. We propose that differing clinical outcomes could arise from pill-taking behavior rather than biological factors driving specific adherence requirements in cisgender women.